Thursday, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Patrisse Cullors, announced plans to step down from the organization to focus on other projects — including a multi-year television development deal with Warner Bros. and the release of her second book. In an interview with The Associated Press, Cullors made it clear that her decision has been in the making for at least a year and has nothing to do with the criticism she has faced recently.
“I’ve created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation, so that I can leave,” said Cullors, whose last day with the organization is Friday. “It feels like the time is right.”
Earlier this year, the 37-year-old activist made headlines after a leader of an organization that is not a part of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation accused Cullors of misappropriating funds. In an interview with Marc Lamont Hill for BNC TV, Cullors denied ever accepting a salary from the foundation and expressed that she believess the allegations were a smear campaign orchestrated by far-right groups.
“Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks about me,” Cullors told the AP.
In preparation for her departure, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has brought in Monifa Bandele and Makani to serve as interim senior executives. Both have previous ties to the foundation.
“I think both of them come with not only a wealth of movement experience, but also a wealth of executive experience,” Cullors said.
“I think I will probably be less visible, because I won’t be at the helm of one of the largest, most controversial organizations right now in the history of our movement,” she went on. “I’m aware that I’m a leader, and I don’t shy away from that. But no movement is one leader.”
In October, Cullors’ second book, An Abolitionists Handbook, will be released by St. Martin’s Press. Her debut TV project will premiere in July.